The Battle of the Mothers

It truly is amazing how "big of a deal" it is to people whether a woman chooses to stay home with her children or go off to work, regardless of how much choice a woman truly holds over the entire ordeal.I'm now out of college, and a well-meaning relative recently pulled me aside to let me know how he felt about my plans to "waste" my degree by staying home with my son. Apparently, after spending all of $16k on my B.A., I am now "obligated" to "put it to good use" by joining the work force full time and sending my toddler off to daycare.Not that I'm inherently opposed to daycare, or joining the work force, but I really don't think it is any of my relative's business what I choose to do.If this person had, in some way, financially contributed to my education, then sure, I might listen to his opinion. But I worked my own way through school, at one point holding three jobs, and graduated debt-free of my own accord.He gets no say in what I do with that $16,000.00 piece of paper.But it's not just relatives who butt their heads into other peoples' life decisions, it's women themselves. Women get pretty darn vicious when discussing whether it's better to "stay at home" or "go to work." Women who stay at home scream that they DO work, while women who work are exasperated that they hold full-time jobs while still having to go home and, in their evenings, complete the housework that most SAHMs finish during the daylight hours.It's pretty sad that after all we've gone through to bring "enlightenment" to women, we're now stuck on arguing over who's right, instead of just agreeing that nobody fits into a mold and we can all be right in our own ways, at least on this issue.One of my good friends knows a lady who is convinced that any woman who chooses to work out of the home is "rebellious" and defying God's divine will for her life. I know another woman who believes that women who stay at home are lazy and good for nothing. So where's the balance? What happened to "choose what works best for your family"?Growing up, my mother stayed home with us, whereas my husband's mother was in the military so she didn't get the opportunity to stay at home with him.Both my husband and I turned out to be functioning members of society. We don't have any bizarre psychological problems, and our mothers both seem to be pretty happy with the way their lives turned out, so it's hard - nay, impossible - to say that all women should do one or the other.But I just don't understand why, as women, we spend so much energy on bickering amongst ourselves, trying to prove how much better we are than one another, rather than just being happy with what we have and what we're doing in our own lives.


Buck Rowland 13 years, 11 months ago

So, let me see, the problem here is that others are offering opinions about whether you are a good parent based on your decisions. And there is inner guilt about either choice, I see. And we don't like it that no one is harassing men for the same choices. Let's look at this way; you have enough resources to actually have the choice AND no one is mounting a voter initiative against your rights. You are not tuning into the TV everyday and hearing that you are like those who have sex with animals, why an ammendment to the constitution is needed to prevent anyone from making that choice and no one drives down the street screaming at you that you are a "stay at home mom." AT this moment I am looking for stats on teenage suicides based on SAHM issues, and I can find none. So the only way to escape this inner turmoil is to have so little resources you can't take care of your kids and you have to work two jobs to pay the rent on your roach-infested apartment, and wonder is the bus system about to go down and cause you to have to walk across town carrying your baby and how will you get home after work, as the bus stops running on suburbanite time, not working people time. As you aluded to with the mention of your uncle, if people are not paying part of the rent, their opinions are as valuable as the resources they offer. It seems to me that you have the better end of this deal, no matter what other wo/men think. Go hug your baby and tell her/him just how lucky s/he is and pray s/he will have the same resources, or more, to face such inner turmoil.

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 13 years, 11 months ago

So . . . how did this go from a reasonable discussion about the issues facing modern middle-class mothers to a rant forum on how much it sucks to be gay and/or poor? Sorry if that sounds insensitive, but hey--the Internet provides many diverse people forums for their opinions and personal dillemas. Just because someone chooses to write about their personal experience, and that personal experience doesn't happen to be as sucky as your own, doesn't mean that they aren't valid, too.I suggest you contact the Homies about getting your own blog, if you feel that your opinons/life experience are important enough to warrant their own forum, rather than hijack the comments on another's blog.To quote a good friend, "Just sayin'."

13 years, 11 months ago

Wow, if I didn't know better, I'd think it was me... I personally like the idea that my grandson gets all that attention.Seriously, for a lot of women, especially those who are not confident in the choice(s) they make, someone making a different choice is taken as a criticism of their choice, and therefore of them. If you homeschool, you're criticizing their choice to put their kids in public schools. If you stay home, you're by your actions saying that the choice that they made to work is incorrect*. The reaction is not a reasonable one because it's not based on reason. Being offended is wholly emotional.Women tend to be flock animals, and when one of them decides to fly, it's bound to cause a lot of clucking and scratching.* Especially so if they don't feel that they have a choice other than to work. Then that feeling of being criticized gets combined with jealousy. And men pack animals. There is a big difference.

13 years, 11 months ago

There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary and those who do not.

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 13 years, 11 months ago

There needs to be more MommyBlogs like this, but then us stay-at-homes would have nothing to do all day, deprived of our "OMG you are such a BAD MOM for choosing A over B, and let me tell you why I feel that way!!!" rantings. Because that's all us SAHMs do, right?;)

Bethany Jones 13 years, 11 months ago

I never said this was a decision that I struggled with. The point of the blog was: "But I just don't understand why, as women, we spend so much energy on bickering amongst ourselves, trying to prove how much better we are than one another, rather than just being happy with what we have and what we're doing in our own lives." I was just discussing the fact that women especially seem set on destroying each other and I don't understand why. Nowhere did I say that cancer isn't terrible or that war doesn't suck. I'm a soldier's wife, Buck, I see death every day. Sometimes it's just nice to talk about something different. If you want to discuss how lousy our world is, I suggest you check out Jilla's blog or ElBorak's blog since they both talk quite frequently about current affairs.

13 years, 11 months ago

Wait, there's an 11rd type, those who are too trivial to be trivialized. But I'm not surprised that you overlooked us.

DOTDOT 13 years, 11 months ago

There's two kinds of people in the world: Those who fear inferior because of their choices when compared to others, and those who feel superior because of their choices when compared to others.

DOTDOT 13 years, 11 months ago

Wow! There are two (10) new kinds of people in the world: Those that trivialize other peoples lives, and those that trivialize the trivialized for considering the trivialization.

Buck Rowland 13 years, 11 months ago

It just seems that there is much to do about nothing here. I guess it was a long way of saying "what is the deal?" Turning the discussion that way is called a dose of relativity. And no one said it doesn't suck, that is your crap. And just because someone writes their personal story in a BLOG is reason enough to comment. And no one said my life sucked, that is your crap too. And the thoughts Bethany has are valid, no one said they aren't. That is also your crap, not mine. But in comparison to the events and challenges people face in the US right now, worrying about whether you made the right choices seems less important to me than not having any. Geesh, Misty, no one ever said it sucks to be gay, that is also your crap. Gosh, anyway, Bethany doesn't really have a problem here, not compared to most moms and dads and there are other issues to tackle. She is lucky, very lucky. She apparently has a great life, and others don't want her to have it. All she has to do is ignore them, and me, and yes, you.

Buck Rowland 13 years, 11 months ago

I know so many women who "struggle" with the "choice," and many who would love the opportunity for such a "struggle." And, hey, sorry people are delving into your personal life, it sucks, for sure. Now I see it is you destroying the Uhmurikan Famlee and not me (grinning emoticon excluded).

Buck Rowland 13 years, 11 months ago

Oh, and relativity is usually only as bitter as the person swalling it! That is my crap!

DOTDOT 13 years, 11 months ago

Ahh. The 100rth type is beyond trivialization, but their number is so few it is, well, trivial.

Buck Rowland 13 years, 11 months ago

My thoughts were not about how the world sucks. It was about how trivial this issue is in comparison. You obviously see that. However, it seems that your blog only stokes a fire that needs to die.

Mackadoo 13 years, 11 months ago

I'm just tired (and admittedly resentful) of this only being considered a women's issue. I know there are an increasing # of SAHDs out there; why does everyone still insist to focus this decision only on females?

linswri 13 years, 11 months ago

Bethany-I'm in the same boat as you, and I've gotten really good at wrapping up discussions like "wasting my education" with a smile and a polite "go eff yourself."Women are some of the most vicious beasts in the world. It's amazing to me how we can wrap the most snide and insincere comments in a hug and a slice of pie. That's just my take on it.:)

Terry Bush 13 years, 11 months ago

This particular issue is at least as old as my time, and probably started back when mothers were first "allowed" to get jobs outside the home (sorry fathers - since males have always been - sadly perhaps - "allowed" to do that, it's not an issue most males have ever had to face head on, daily). There are tons of reasons why one person might choose to stay home with the off-spring while another might not. And Bethie is 150% correct - there is no one answer fits all. Those who see in black and white are usually narrow minded and afraid of the whole truth. The thing that really pained me during my years at home were the number of men and women who did not support me in my decision. So I know how it feels to be attacked for making the choice to stay home with a child (despite having a college degree...or perhaps because of it). Who knows why there seemed to be so much hositility towards that choice. But I was grateful that I could do that work; to me it was some of the most important (and best) work of my life. Sometimes the only pats on the back you get in life are those you give to yourself. However, one caveat I'd make or give to all stay at home parents - plan ahead for i/fwhen you must or will work outside the home - thank goodness I did have the chance to be trained in a wage earning profession. Because, like it or not, there often comes a time when most people (male or female) have to support themselves (and/or their offspring).

alm77 13 years, 11 months ago

Chiming in a little late here, just got back from vaca....I used to be die hard that one parent or the other should be home with their kids. I was a SAHM for a couple of years, then my husband took a turn while I worked and he took college classes. Now I'm back to being the SAHM who has been pretty creative with coming up with ways to contribute financially as well. It wasn't until I worked and my husband stayed home that I met some fantastic working moms and realized they loved their children just as much as I love mine. But at the same time, at least one of those moms decided to get a better job so her husband could be a SAHD, in part, because of the example we had set. So, she and I both learned something. The possibilities are endless and yes, every family is unique. We can all learn from one another, and help each other see the options and figure it all out.

funkdog1 13 years, 11 months ago

I'm a stay at home mom and I can honestly say that I've never encountered bickering or viciousness among my peers. Never. And I've gotten to know a LOT of 20-, 30- and 40-something stay at home AND working moms. We moms who are lucky enough to afford to be able to stay home appreciate it, even though it just about drives us insane to be home with our kids all the time. The moms who can't afford to stay home feel guilty and anxious and we stay at home moms are supportive of them. Then there are the moms who could afford to stay home but choose not to 'cause they KNOW they'd go insane. They know damn good and well how hard it is to stay home with kids. I don't know any mom who's not supportive of that decision also.The only disparaging remark I've heard from a working mom was Miranda in the Sex and the City movie. I chalked it up to fiction.Someone who actually thinks it's "God's will" to stay home with kids isn't your typical, rational person. She's just a religious nut.

RachelAnderson 13 years, 11 months ago

Good blog! Thanks for writing it. Similar to a post I just wrote....

md_pinks 13 years, 11 months ago

Bethany-My mother wasn't a SAHM and worked at least 70hours a day. Dad also did the same to keep the roof over our heads and all that good stuff.What I want to say is that I would have loved to have seen of either one of my parents more as I was growing up because I feel like I missed out on something. Hopefully I'll get to be a SAHD for awhile (when I have kids of course) so I can provide that kind of life for my children.I guess what I'm saying is that I think what you're doing for you and your family is highly admorable and if anyone wants to give you shit for it, to quote linswri, tell em to "go eff themselves"

Will Babbit 13 years, 11 months ago

Women are mean to and bicker with one another because...they're women...

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 13 years, 11 months ago

funkdog---you obviously don't spend enough time on "mommy forums". Good for you; they're bad for your mental health. Women rarely say that sort of thing to each other's faces, but given an anonymous forum to preach about how superior their decisions are, well . . .

Commenting has been disabled for this item.